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By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky senior tight end Jordan Aumiller didn’t mince words about UK’s 2-10 season in 2012 that cost coach Joker Phillips and his staff their jobs when he said it wasn’t “fun for any UK fan or player.”
But will this year be different? Kentucky coach Mark Stoops is facing a schedule loaded with ranked teams and a season-opening game against Western Kentucky and new coach Bobby Petrino — the coach some thought would have been a good fit for UK when Phillips was fired.
Returning players have been careful to try and avoid criticizing last year’s staff that featured a way too complex defense put together by Rick Minter, an offense that apparently was equally difficult to learn under Randy Sanders and lack of confidence that the Cats could win.
Yet when the players have been asked questions, they have answered freely and the insights help explain why last year was bad. Very bad. It also justifies why fans were right to bail out on Phillips when they did in spite of his contributions to Kentucky as a player and coach.
Sophomore linebacker Khalid Henderson didn’t hold back when asked how frustrating it was last year trying to understand the defense.
“It was really frustrating. Even though it was my freshman year, I knew that was not the right process going into a game and not knowing what was going on on the field. That’s all I will say about last year. It was hard to adjust and play,” said Henderson.
Is football more fun this year?
“I would say that. Everybody is coming to practice ready to practice and wanting to practice. People want to get better and I love that about going into this season,” Henderson said. “It was not like that toward the end last year. There were a lot of shameful moments then, but we are looking forward to this season now. It’s completely different.”
Wow! Shameful moments and players not even wanting to practice. No wonder Vanderbilt embarrassed UK late last season and the Cats were no match for a poor Tennessee team.